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Monday, 13 August 2012

Euroland

After a big, dirty renovation job in your house, you need to do a big clean-up. Such clean-ups often reveal small treasures and other sentimental finds: in my case, I unearthed the drachma notes I kept after 2001 when Greece went €-ways.


Contrary to my husband's wishes, who felt it was a waste of money, I kept one of each of the notes that were last being used at the time. The total value of these notes is less than 17,000 drachmas, which comes to the princely sum of €50. At the time, 5,000 drachmas felt like a lot of money, while 10,000 drachmas meant you could go out for drinks and a meal afterwards, and you'd still be in pocket. These days, €50 is just enough to fill the near-empty (not completely empty) tank of my 13-year-old Hyundai.

I'm glad I kept these notes. Looking at them now a decade later, I see them as archaic and quite useless. Even the faces on the notes are of the tired old 'Greek glory' type:
10,000 δρχ - Mr PAP test (something the Greeks invented)
5,000 δρχ - Mr Pebble on his bum (as the Greek statesman's name Kolokotronis suggests)
1,000 δρχ - Mr Know thyself (Apollo's famous line)

500 δρχ: Mr Centralisation Law (which is how the name of Kapodistrias - a buddy of Kolokotronis: see above - lives on in modern times)
200 δρχ - Rigas Ferrraios (another - pre-Kolokotronis - Greek statesman)
100 δρχ - Athina (the goddess of wisdom - her note now sells on eBay for 3 US$)
Such notes will never come back into circulation. Even the OECD chief hints at this, when he recently said that Greece must stay in the euro. We all know that; in fact, that's why no one's throwing her out of the euro - there is no one to do this anyway. 

The fluffy clouds and autumn hues in this photo taken yesterday signal the change in season. The beach is being used mainly by locals, and possibly a few Athenian visitors. The deck chairs were mainly empty at this time (after 6.30pm). Tourists do use this beach, but they don't actually stay very long after 4-5pm: 6pm is when they go out for dinner, as they do in their own countries. 

We constantly hear that Greece must exit the eurozone, that she should be thrown out of the eurozone, that she should not be in the eurozone. But since Greece will never go of her own accord, and since no one is removing her from the eurozone, she is pretty much stuck where she is. Greece may still be tottering but she's not on the brink.

It's been three days, and I haven't finished the cleaning up of the whole house - I still have the kitchen area to do, which seems impossible to clean since I am constantly getting it dirty by continuing to cook in it. I'm sure I will uncover some other latent savings while I am tidying up - hopefully worth a little more than this lot.

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